An Interview with ADP’s Head of Sales

By Geoffrey James

John LaMancuso is president of sales at Automatic Data Processing (ADP), one of the world’s largest payroll and tax filing processors in the world. SellingPower recently interviewed LaMancuso on the subject of the firm’s recent integration of Salesforce.com with their sales processes. Here are some excerpts.

SP: What prompted you to select Salesforce.com?

JL: We needed aggregate data that previously was hidden inside a contact management system. We also wanted to provide our sales associates with better data to support the sales process. Finally, we wanted to use the system to help coach associates to present a better and more effective value proposition to our customers. We looked at a lot of vendors but selected Salesforce.com.

SP: How difficult was it to convert and move data to your new system?

JL: We were able to achieve a conversion rate that was closer to 100% than I had imagined. To do this, we created a special Web-based tool that allowed associates to upload their contact databases, clean up the data and then submit it to the new system.

SP: How did you train your sales associates to use the new system?

JL: We gave all associates a two-hour Web-based presession, followed by a day-long, hands-on onsite session using the data the associates had converted and uploaded to the database. Using live data made the training more meaningful.

SP: Moving to CRM is a huge change, especially in a large sales organization. What were your concerns?

JL: In addition to the normal concerns about data conversion and system downtime during the crossover, we were concerned that associates might feel as if big brother was watching them.

SP: Did that turn out to be a problem?

JL: No. Rather than using the CRM system as an inspection tool, our sales leaders are using it to help their associates sell. Sales leaders can plan and review opportunities on a biweekly basis and help sales associates strategize and assemble an attractive value proposition. Sales leaders also can use the system to conduct regional marketing programs.

SP: When you have 1,000 salespeople, you have 1,000 different ways of describing a customer contact. How do you ensure the quality and consistency of the data that gets entered in the system?

JL: We reduced data that might otherwise be seen as interpretative to a set of standardized fields. Drop-down windows and tables in the system identify almost every element of our business, from competitors to products, pricing and sales process to quotas.

SP: It sounds like you tried to create an ideal marriage between the people, process and technology.

JL: That is exactly the right description. We put a lot of time into defining our sales process and breaking it down into elements that can be expressed in a CRM system. We thought about this aspect of the project long before we initiated the vendor selection process.